The Top 6 Benefits of PIM for E-commerce Retailers in 2024
Published On: January 26th, 2024|By Comosoft|4.5 min read|
E-commerce brands need a way to manage consistent, high-quality product information across print and digital channels. PIM systems can provide that single source of truth.
Digital e-commerce (conducting business via the Internet) is nothing new. The first such transaction involved the sale of cannabis via ARPANET in the early 1970s. But ever since the recovery from the dot-com bust of the early 2000s, and especially since the emergence of smartphones, buying online is the new normal.
Big retail chains, even some that maintain substantial brick-and-mortar footprints, are at the e-commerce forefront today. Large or small, retailers use the mobile Internet to streamline sales and establish lasting consumer loyalty. But as with any technology, e-commerce systems have created their problems. One of the most notable is the challenge of keeping track of mountains of product and purchase data—and using all that data to make meaningful marketing and advertising decisions.
The most frequently-used solution to this problem is to deploy a product information management or PIM system. Essentially a giant database of the entire product line, a PIM system holds detailed and well-organized information about each retailer’s thousands (or millions) of individual products. The product manufacturers typically provide the data. But once that information is normalized in a retailer’s PIM, it becomes the “single source of truth” for marketing and advertising directors. With it, they can intelligently select the right products to promote across print and online channels. Here are some benefits a PIM can provide.
1. Greater Scalability
In theory, E-commerce retailers have an almost unlimited capacity to access new markets, thanks to our ability to shop from anywhere. However, retailers need their PIM system to deliver high-quality and consistent product information across multiple channels to scale up and compete with Amazon. Moreover, the PIM data must be coordinated with the retailer’s digital asset management or DAM system and other data sources. Promoting a single product is relatively simple; an excellent merchandising planner can usually find all the relevant information and images. However, to do so at scale requires the robust data infrastructure of a sound PIM system.
2. Improved Customer Experience
PIM-enabled (and DAM-enabled) e-commerce systems can satisfy shoppers’ desire for immediate access to the products they need or want. Once a purchase has been made, the PIM system can even become a repository for customer feedback or reviews—giving marketing and advertising directors new ways to improve the retailer’s public image (hopefully by becoming more responsive). A data-centric model can enhance the retailer’s ability to respond to individual shoppers’ needs if used well.
3. Better Data Quality
As any retail IT manager will tell you, successful e-commerce depends on the quality of product information that appears in response to a shopper’s search query. Customers want to know the details of the products they buy, including size, color, compatibility with other products, and various other variables. A good picture (or more than one) is a must, as is a clear product description and access to unbiased reviews. All these things do not appear by magic; behind the convenience of any sound e-commerce system is the quality of well-integrated data that only a sound PIM system can provide.
4. Multichannel Capability
E-commerce is, of course, only one facet of a retailer’s overall marketing strategy. Even “online only” retailers have frequently resorted to various communication channels—including printed catalogs and flyers. But no matter what channel is used, a fully integrated PIM, DAM, and publishing system is the key to success. All those channels must operate in tandem, pulling data from the PIM to create customized, localized variations across multiple digital publishing channels.
5. External/Internal Collaboration
With so many channels to consider, not to mention the need for customized, regional versions of each campaign, directors of retail marketing and advertising are faced with a formidable task. Having a robust PIM and DAM infrastructure is only the beginning of the solution. To accurately plan and execute such complex campaigns, they must also be able to use those data sources in the planning stage. Comosoft’s LAGO system provides unequaled control over such campaigns, including a unique, collaborative workflow for marketing and product planning managers.
No discussion about a retailer’s data challenges would be complete without a mention of security issues. E-commerce has only expanded these concerns by giving consumers unprecedented access to product information. But here, too, a well-managed PIM system can protect the integrity of product data from outside actors and inadvertent errors during the campaign production process. Many individuals are involved in complex, multi-product, and multichannel campaigns. Last-minute changes are often needed, including sale price changes and many other data corrections. A robust review and approval process is necessary to control such a complex system. Without impeding multiple deadlines, such a process ensures that only authorized corrections are made (and tracked) in the primary PIM or DAM data.
E-commerce may seem like magic, but countless moving parts are working behind the scenes. Each of these depends on the integrity and flexibility of their single source of truth. For retailers looking to establish or upgrade that source, a well-integrated and managed PIM can provide the correct data to improve operations and ultimately enhance their customers’ experience.
Find out more about Comosoft LAGO and its potential to transform your PIM and other data systems into a powerful, integrated e-commerce engine. Or book a demo to see for yourself.